Monday, November 15, 2010

Home Remodeling/Repair

Steven has been on a kind of home improvement kick lately (not that I'm complaining!) trying to get a whole lot of pretty big projects done all at once before winter. It's exhausting to me (on those days when I'm home to help) and lumber is expensive -- but I know all of this is worth it to try to maintain the 'infrastructure' of our place, as he says.

He has worked off and on for several weeks getting boards replaced on the garage, then sealing holes with insulating foam, fixing windows, prime coat painting and then top coat painting the whole thing. Our garage looks really spiffy and like new now.

Then he tackled the rotting-out lower house siding on the back side of the house - especially that large hole created by a opposum trying to use our crawl space as its living quarters. This is a lot of work -- very old wood siding (we want to keep from having to replace any more than necessary) and boxing boards underneath that need replaced or repaired. We got one section of it done last week, two more larger sections to go. Wood lap siding (as used to be used on all old farmhouses) is very hard to get now -- we only found one lumber yard that had a random selection of it at a very high price. But we got enough to finish that section. He also got all of that primed and painted to keep it from rotting out again so easily.

Well, I took a four day weekend, and one of the big projects this time was a new cave (outside cellar) door. I won't even put up "before" photos because it looked so horrible and rotted out, full of holes. Our house water pump is down in the old "cave" so we need to keep it warm in winter. To do that you have to have a decent door, which we haven't for several years.

First, we started with building up a new frame over the concrete for the new door to rest upon, as the old sill was pretty shot. Blessedly, these treated 2x4 boards were free recycle from some dear friends who replaced their privacy fencing and gave us all the old structural boards.

Then used more 2x4 to create the framing for the door itself. We overlaid that with 1x8 cedar planks. Lots of screws involved in this process.

(I love those pipe clamps - come in very handy! We used my old flatbed trailer as a work table)

(cutting off the excess length of 1x8's. Actually did this with a regular old manual hand saw - it was easiest. But boy, does that make your arm tired!)

Then we fastened the new (and heavy!) door onto the cellar opening frame, using four exterior grade hinges. Installed a new handle, and it looks great! Now, perhaps a coat of polyurethane or something to help it weather even better.

Steven today put in a post to use as a door stop/brace when we have it open, because it is a bit heavy for myself and my mom to muscle around too much.

Snug and secure for winter.

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